Raising Test Scores Doesn’t Prove Much

By Mary Ollie

MaryThe trouble with research is sometimes the data tells you things you do not want to hear.

 How many times have the terms, “k through career”, “prepare students to compete in a global economy”, and “college and career ready”, been associated with the high stakes test that are tied to the Common Core Standards? I’m trying to think of a time when I have not heard these mentioned together.

 The more I listen to the rhetoric, the louder the message is that these tests (SBAC for Idaho and about twenty other states and PARCC for the rest – except a few states that opted out) will improve student performance. As a result of these tests students will be ready to kick some butt in that global economy.

 What does it mean to be competitive in a global economy, especially in a world that is becoming more crowded? The amount of material on the planet is limited. We have a finite amount of air, water, and land and more people wanting a piece of that. How will performance on standardized tests help our children and grandchildren rise to the challenges of a crowded planet?

 The news from a recent study funded by the Gates Foundations suggests that those tests scores might not help. Say what?

 It appears that high tests scores are, well, just high test scores. Raising test scores does not improve cognitive ability – the ability to think, reason, and problem solve. Yet, the abilities to think, reason, and problem solve are just what our future citizens require to survive in a global economy.

 The link summarizes the results. For the full report, follow the link at the end of the article. It’s a real page turner!

 http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/12/20/standardized-achievement-tests-what-are-they-good-for-hint-not-cognitive-ability/

 

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